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We must indeed all hang together, 

or, most assuredly, 

we shall all hang separately.
Benjamin Franklin, July 4, 1776
Remark to John Hancock, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

 

 

 

Solidarity Forever

click for music, Battle Hymn of the Republic midi

When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong.

CHORUS:
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

CHORUS:
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving m
idst the wonders we have made;
But the union makes us strong.

CHORUS:
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

CHORUS:
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.

CHORUS:
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong.


"Solidarity Forever" is the most popular union song on the North American continent. If a union member knows only one union song it is almost sure to be this. It has become, in effect, the anthem of the American labor movement.

Ralph Chaplin, the famous poet, artist, writer, and organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, wrote "Solidarity Forever" on January 17, 1915. That day, while lying on the rug in his living room, he scribbled stanza after stanza. The idea had come to him earlier while he was in West Virginia helping the coal miners in the great Kanawha Valley strike. Little did he dream then that song would live on after all his other work was forgotten.

Chaplin recalls: "I wanted a song to be full of revolutionary fervor and to have a chorus that was singing and defiant."

Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, eds., Songs of Work and Protest, New York, NY, 1973, p. 13.

In Unity there is strength


If I went to work in a factory, 

the first thing I'd do would be to join a union
Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

The Scab

"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab."

"A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles."

"When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out."

"No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with. Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself." A scab has not.

"Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British army." The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife, his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled promise from his employer.

Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country; a scab is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and his class."

Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)

 

NO SCABS!


Martin Luther King said: 

"In our glorious fight for civil rights,
we must guard against being fooled by false
slogans as 'right-to-work.'  It provides no
'rights' and no 'works'.   It's purpose is to
destroy labor unions and the freedom of
collective bargaining...

We demand this fraud be stopped."


My friends, it is solidarity of labor we want. We do not want to find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces and say to each other: "We must be together; our masters are joined together and we must do the same thing."
Mother Jones, 1902
Speaking before the convention of the UMWA, Indianapolis, IN


 

The Union Shop Versus the Non-Union Shop

There is a lot of nonsense talked about [the union shop]. They talk about the inalienable right of a man to work; he has no such right; no one has the right to work, and the man who stands for the open shop does not care for anybody's rights to work, except for the nonunion man, and they only care for him because they can use him. If a man has any constitutional right to work he ought to have some legal way of getting work. If the Constitution is going to guarantee the right to work, it ought to guarantee some place to work, and there is no such thing. A man can only work if there is a job; he can only work for a man who wants some man to work for him.

The workingman spends a good share of his waking moments in a shop. He does not need to invite a nonunion man into his house if he does not want to, and probably won't, and he is under no more obligation to work with him in a factory if he does not want to... Of course , a union man had a direct reason for it; he believes and he understands and feels that the nonunion man is working against the interests of his class; that the only way a workingman can get anything is by collective bargaining, and by saying , "If you don't give us a raise, not only will I quit but we will all quit and tie up your business"; that is the only way he can do it. One man quitting out of 50,000 is nothing or even ten men or one hundred men, but if they all quit, so they can do with the employer what the employer does with you, when he discharges you, then they can bargain and there is no other kind of bargaining but collective bargaining.

The nonunion man comes along and says, "I will take your place." He is not loyal to the union, and the union man regards him as a traitor to his class, and he won't work with him, and he has a perfect right to refuse to work with him.

There is no such thing as the open shop, really. There is a union shop and a nonunion shop. Everybody that believes in the open shop disbelieves in the union shop, whatever they say; and I do not say that unions are perfect, they are not. The people that work with them know that better than anyone else. They are just doing the best they can with the job they have, which is a hard one, and with the material they have, which is not perfect... [I]t is one of the necessary things in the industrial world, and the fight is between those who believe in them and those who disbelieve in them. Those who disbelieve in them say they believe in the union shop; but the union shop is simply a back door to put the union man out.

Clarence Darrow, labor and criminal lawyer, 1915,
Testimony before the U.S. Senates Commission on Industrial Relations.

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